Monday, 21 July 2008

Crime at Harrogate


The latest Harrogate Crime Writing Festival was the best-attended yet, and for good reason. It runs from Thursday evening to Sunday, and it attracts an increasingly international audience. The Festival team and the staff at the Crown Hotel seem to work very well together. It must be quite a complex thing to organise, but I wasn’t aware of any glitches.

Apart from the pleasure of meeting old friends, I enjoyed a variety of events and meeting some very agreeable people for the first time. In future blog posts, I’ll cover some authors who were present on an individual basis.

The panels included a number of highlights, including the ever-entertaining Peter Lovesey explaining why he is a technophobe, and reciting a funny poem about the importance of autopsy scenes in modern crime fiction. On a panel that focused on criminal justice, Frances Fyfield was eloquent and very perceptive.

It was good to catch up with Peter Robinson and his wife for the first time in three years or so – his publishers threw a party to celebrate 21 years of books about Alan Banks. I’ve been a fan of the series since it began and it’s great to see how successful it’s become. And then there was the quiz, presided over by Simon Kernick and Laura Wilson. I was invited to join a knowledgeable and friendly team, with bloggers Maxine, Karen and Rhian, along with fellow authors Meg Gardiner and Zoe Sharp. We didn’t win, but it was a lot of fun.

7 comments:

Uriah Robinson said...

Who cares if you won with a team like that? ;0)

maxine said...

I'm so relieved you used the word "fun", Martin. Quizzes are not my thing, but I've recently participated in two (Harrogate and Crime Fest) and I realise I get very annoyed when my team doesn't win. On this occasion, I could have done with fewer TV questions and more book questions.
But I had a lovely time at the festival, and it was very nice to see you there. Thank you for joining our team. Next time.....we shall win through! (We need an American TV junkie to complement the other skills, I believe.)

Martin Edwards said...

Uriah, you are right - but as Maxine says, next year.....

cfr said...

Twas a great team! And we didn't cheat! I found out later that some got the answers to the picture round because of a wiki search on a mobile phone...

Let Jane Gregory loose on them, I say. And in the mean time, may their book sales diminish. Just joking!

Hope you enjoyed the event and the chocolate...

Meg Gardiner said...

The quiz really was fun. Especially with Maxine luring surrounding teams into giving wrong answers by saying things like, "The Maltese Falcon -- definitely written by Conan Doyle." Add some TV trivia knowledge to her cunning, and the Billingham/Front Row/Crais cabal is definitely going down next year.

Martin Edwards said...

Not only did I enjoy the chocolate and the company, Rhian, but also the wine!

cfr said...

It will be interesting to see what team we have next year. We lost by two points, albeit two teams achieved one more point than us. But it was indeed fun, as Meg says.

Martin, I am not a fan of Pinot Grigio - in fact I avoid it like the plague, having only experienced one decent bottle when it came on the scene in the 90s - but this one was good.

LOL, read somewhere earlier this week that the hotel took more in one hour from the crime contingent than it did for the whole of a wedding party's night in the bar last year. I suspect they strategically capitalised on this fact in 2008. Upstairs I asked for a bottle of house white, but they were out. "You can wait, but it won't be chilled when it comes, either". So I settled on the Pinot Grigio at £4 more per bottle; almost the price of a glass. They surely knew they had a major event on: the impending Quiz. A convenient lack of timely stocking, I suspect. But for a Pinot Grigio, it was OK. Glad you enjoyed it, Martin.

My preference is for NZ sauvignon blanc. Little surprise that I did not seek that one out in a hotel bar...